“Baijiu: The Essential Guide to Chinese Spirits” Out Now

Slipping out of focus while serving the thirsty masses in Beijing

Lots of exciting things are afoot in the world of baijiu connoisseurship. Last week saw the official release of my new book Baijiu: The Official Guide to Chinese Spirits. This book, as discussed earlier, culminates several years of well-lubricated research, much of it mentioned on this blog, but there is plenty new to sink your teeth into. The book should now be available at bookstores throughout the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, and is downloadable as an ebook in two versions: Kindle and epub.

Several advance copies of the book found their way to readers last month, when I traveled to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing for a series of baijiu-related talks. Thank you to everyone who attended, asked questions and shared a ganbei or several with me. The events were a blast and some readers have already started putting the book to good use.

While touring around China I happened across a number of interesting drinks and drinkers, about which there will be several more posts in the weeks to follow. But for now, here is a brief run-down of the trip’s highlights:

Audience favorite baijius: Guilin Sanhua’s Lao Guilin (rice aroma); Shui Jing Fang Wellbay (strong aroma)

Best baijiu cocktails: Dark and Smoggy (Vance Yeang, Yuan, Shanghai); No Regrets (Badr Benjelloun, Cu Ju, Beijing)

Best moderators: Andrew Galbraith (huangjiu taster extraordinaire); Jim Boyce (prolific China wine and nightlife writer, whose tasting notes also grace my guide).

Best publisher: Penguin China, of course

Best assist: Shui Jing Fang, who generously supplied a boatload of their exquisite super-premium baijiu. More about the distillery in my next post.

In case you missed my talks, do not despair. You have options. I would like to direct your attention to this amusing interview I did with Debra Bruno for the Wall Street Journal Scene Asia blog prior to the trip and corresponding video interview. Or you might like to check out last week’s interviews with CNN and China Daily. And for good measure another link to last month’s Sinica podcast.

Happy reading.

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